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Leadership in Law 2013: Katherine A. Brown-Henry

Associate, Cline Farrell Christie & Lee P.C., Indianapolis Valparaiso University Law School

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katherine-brown-henry01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Katherine A. Brown-Henry is known around her office as a bit of a probate guru. In fact, she’s overhauled the system by which Cline Farrell Christie & Lee P.C. handles wrongful death estates and guardianships. She’s also taught two continuing legal education programs on probating wrongful death estates. Kate has served as a judge for the We the People and Indiana Mock Trial programs. She also manages her firm’s law clerk program and initiated a book club where she and the clerks read and discuss legal books the firm has found instructive.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
High school college counselor.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
Good thing. Face time should be more than an app on my iPad.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
Property, too many archaic words. 

What civic cause is the most important to you?
The We the People program.

What’s the most important thing your mentor has taught you?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and give help where you can.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would want Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.

In life or law, what bugs you?
I think it’s important to be respectful of a person’s time, so being late without calling is my biggest pet peeve.

Working on medical cases, you’ve probably seen a lot. Is there something that still makes you squeamish?
Autopsy and intraoperative photos.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
“Life is Wonderful” by Jason Mraz.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
“Kate’s Tenderloin Sandwich” - grilled pork tenderloin, Indiana tomatoes, lettuce, a little mayo and a whole-wheat roll.

Numerous TV shows center around lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic?
Not really, but a show without a twist in the fact pattern or an “Ah Ha!” moment wouldn’t be very interesting.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
Being a “Downton Abbey” fan, I wouldn’t mind being Lady Grantham.

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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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